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Zombie Carnaval

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Dead inside

Product: Zombie Carnaval | Developer: Mobigame | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual, Endless running | Players: 1 | File size: 38MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Zombie Carnaval iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's a dark night in developer Mobigame's laboratory. On a cold slab in the middle of the room lies a monstrous creation, assembled from App Store flotsam - one part endless runner, two parts in-app consumable, and a final dollop of zombie just for good measure.

You can practically hear the developer whispering: "if this thing doesn't make money, nothing will".

It's the End of Days and, as one of Zombie Carnaval's reanimated corpses it's your job to shamble onward with single-minded determination.

You leap chasms, dodge obstacles, and consume the brains of all the living things in your path. Each citizen you devour joins your rotting clan, and soon there’s a train of the undead writhing behind you.

Strength in Numbers

Think of each zombie you gather as an extra life, slowly whittling down as your undead chums trundle off ledges, crash into traffic, and explode in a shower of goo.

Sheer numbers do occasionally matter: you can, for instance, flip certain vehicles provided you've got the right sized horde for the job - with bigger vehicles delivering more delicious passengers as a reward.

Your only real objective is to keep moving for as long as you can, with additional assistance available in the form of power-ups. These, variously, turn your undead group into lumbering but invincible quarterbacks, blow them up like balloons to float over obstacles, and more.

Elsewhere, micro-mission objectives attempt to add an extra layer of depth to proceedings, while coins can be collected and spent in the in-game store.

Deadly Precision

Zombie Carnaval's strongest assets are its bold, chunky art-style and tightly implemented design. Finely tuned single-tap controls mean success is primarily driven by skill. It's a focus that’s both satisfying and rewarding enough - particularly as your zombie train reaches absurd proportions - to initially distract from the game’s unapologetically formulaic core.

But beneath its jaunty undead exterior Zombie Carnaval is all too happy to regurgitate tired, familiar ideas - and its complacent approach to creativity means the game never really finds a compelling groove.

Unimaginative mission objectives flatline, power-ups lack visceral punch, and in-store items simply aren’t interesting enough to encourage ardent completism.

Sure, there's entertainment to be had in small doses, but Zombie Carnaval just doesn't have the staying power of its more inspired endless runner bedfellows. In the end, it's a shambling, undead creation that - appropriately enough - is lacking soul.
Zombie Carnaval
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 12 June 2012
A slick endless runner that borrows the best bits from its contemporaries but fails to inject any new life into its meticulously assembled corpse
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